Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Thanks, Senator Feinstein. The Glenn Simpson Interview Transcript

I couldn't sleep last night so I read the transcript of the Glenn Simpson interview, all 300+ pages of it.  Despite its soporific value, I still couldn't sleep!

Glenn Simpson is the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm which carried the opposition research on Donald Trump, first for an unnamed Republican client and, after the Republican primaries, for an unnamed Democratic client.  It's his firm that the British Chris Steele, an ex-M16 agent, worked for as a subcontractor.  Steele is famous for the Steele dossier.

Simpson was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) published the interview transcript yesterday.

It has some interesting bits, over and above the ones which the Washington Post covers. 

First, where does Trump's foreign income come from?  Simpson states that he found published evidence on Trump's connections to both Italian organized crime and to at least one Russian organized crime figure,  Felix Sater.  But Simpson also established that Trump's golf courses in Scotland are giving a poor return for his investments, and he couldn't establish all the sources of Trump's foreign income. 

Then there is this (p.296):

Second, Steele's interactions with the FBI are fascinating.  He contacted the FBI to "fill them in" on the dossier he had collected and had at least one additional meeting with them.  But then something odd happened (pp 178-179):

Finally, though I am not qualified to evaluate the veracity of Simpson's statements, none of what he says contradicts what I have read in published sources.  The only odd bit (perhaps caused by some legal strategy?) is that he appeared to be very unsure of the exact timing of most events.   But the usual caveat emptor applies.